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MRI of the intratemporal facial nerve in dogs with idiopathic facial paralysis
Magnetic resonance imaging has become a very important diagnostic tool in various diseases. But can it also help to find the reason for idiopathic facial paralysis, a disease which is so frustrating in dogs and in humans?

The most common cause of peripheral facial nerve paralysis in dogs, in the absence of otitis media, is thought to be idiopathic.

Gadolinium-enhanced (Gd) magnetic resonance (MR) imaging has been used to study peripheral facial weakness in humans with a wide variety of disorders, including Bell`s palsy, the clinical equivalent of idiopathic facial nerve paralysis in dogs.

Gd-MR imaging may be useful to demonstrate abnormal enhancement of the intratemporal facial nerve.

The aim of this study was to define the role of the Gd-MR imaging in dogs with idiopathic facial nerve paralysis, with regard to pattern of enhancement, and to search for prognostic information.

Six dogs with peripheral facial nerve paralysis, followed between 2003 and 2005, were studied.

Physical and neurologic examinations, as well as clinical tests, were performed, including routine hematology, serum biochemistry, thyroid screening, cerebrospinal fluid analysis, and MR imaging.

The time interval between the onset of the clinical signs, the progress of the disease, and the final recovery was noted in each dog.

The following four intratemporal segments of the facial nerve were analyzed: internal acoustic meatus, labyrinthine segment/geniculate ganglion, tympanic segment, and mastoid segment. Along its length, contrast enhancement was found in four dogs.

In this group, contrast enhancement of the facial nerve was found in all segments of two dogs, in three segments of one dog, and in one segment of the other dog.

In the four dogs with enhancement, one recovered completely in 8 weeks and three have not recovered completely.

The two dogs without evidence of enhancement recovered completely in an average time of 4 weeks.



Source: VAREJÃO, ARTUR S.P., MUÑOZ, ALBERTO & LORENZO, VALENTINA (2006): MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING OF THE INTRATEMPORAL FACIAL NERVE IN IDIOPATHIC FACIAL PARALYSIS IN THE DOG. In: Veterinary Radiology & Ultrasound 47 (4), 328-333.




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